One Body and One Spirit, by Witness Lee


The local churches are many in existence but are still one Body universally in element (Eph. 4:4). In existence the churches are many. For example, there is a church in Taipei, a church in London, and a church in Atlanta. However, in element all the churches are one. We are one church, one Body, one new man. In element we are not divided, and we cannot be autonomous.


A. The One Accord in the Local Churches

The secret in practicality to the one Body is the one accord in the local churches (Phil. 1:27b; 2:2). Although many have said that the crucial point in Acts is the outpouring of the Spirit, the outpouring of the Spirit came out of the one accord. Without the one accord, the Spirit would not have been poured out. Before His crucifixion, when the Lord Jesus was on earth, the twelve disciples were not in one accord. Quite often they were in discord. They fought among themselves as to who was the greatest (Luke 9:46; 22:24). But after the resurrection, and even more after the ascension, the one hundred twenty from the despised region of Galilee remained in one accord in Jerusalem under the threatening of the Judaizers. They prayed in one accord for ten days (Acts 1:14), both males and females, and this brought in the outpouring of the Spirit (2:1-4), which led to three thousand being saved on the day of Pentecost (v. 41). The reason for the increase was the one accord. The church in that place could not have increased in such a way without the one accord. Among us the rate of increase has been very low. The reason for this is that we are short of the one accord.

B. The Oneness in the Universal Body

The secret of the practice of the church life is first the one accord in the local churches. Second, the secret of the practice of the church life is the oneness in the universal Body (Eph. 4:3; John 17:11, 21-23). Some insist to say, "We are local churches. Every local church has its own jurisdiction. Don’t touch our affairs. If you touch our affairs, you touch our local administration." To say such a word is to make all the local churches separate from one another. This is separation; this is not oneness. Oneness should be among the local churches, and one accord should be in every local church. Then we will have the blessing.

In the eighteenth century Count Zinzendorf had an estate in Saxony which he used as a refuge for those fleeing the persecution of the Roman Catholic Church and the state churches. The brothers who were gathered there began to disagree over their doctrinal and practical differences. One day Zinzendorf called them together and advised them to drop their differences. They all agreed. Soon after this, they experienced the outpouring of the Spirit upon them and they were increased and spread. If we would all be in the oneness universally and in the one accord locally, the meeting halls of all the churches would be filled. I began to work in Taipei, Taiwan in 1949. When we started the work, there were about five hundred saints in the recovery on the entire island. Within five years the number increased to forty thousand. The reason for this increase was the one accord on the whole island.

The church is one man, one Body. Just as a man cannot be divided into pieces, the church as the new man cannot be divided into pieces. Our physical body cannot be divided into separate, autonomous pieces. We cannot say that our shoulder, head, and hands are autonomies. All the local churches should be one, and every local church should be in one accord with no opinion.

(One Body and One Spirit, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)